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Travel Center
Bonjour Quebec

The winter holidays in Québec add extra twinkle to an already sparkling destination. To make sure your trip is filled with the utmost warmth and joy, scan this list of tips. We hope it will help bundle you up with the right outfits and amenities for snowy, winter fun.

Parlez-Vous Anglais?

The Québécois have fiercely protected their heritage and proudly speak French, with a bit of their own dialect mixed in. Locals who work in the tourist industry (hotels, restaurants, retail) speak English, but don’t expect it away from tourist areas. Road signs outside Montréal and Québec City will be in French. Bring a translator or phrase book, or brush up on some basic French phrases.

Cold Front

Winter temperatures in Québec drop well below freezing between November and April, often accompanied by wind and snow. Average January temperatures of 18 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 1 degree Fahrenheit at night may actually feel colder due to wind chill. Wear layers of clothing to navigate indoor/outdoor conditions.

Dressing for Subzero Outdoor Activities

Thin, wicking layer next to your skin—top and bottom. Avoid cotton since it absorbs moisture, making you colder.

  • Loose, insulating layers like polyester or fleece (Women’s Micro-Quilt Vest)
  • Windproof and waterproof outerwear (jacket and snow pants)
  • Wool socks; insulated gloves/mittens, scarf and hat; warm ear coverings
  • Waterproof, insulated knee-length boots

Destination Resources

To find out what’s on in Québec, consult the Ministry of Tourism’s online magazine, Bonjour Québec. It covers cultural and family-friendly events, regional delicacies and themed trip ideas. The Télégraphe City Guide provides news links, neighborhood maps and cultural and historical background, as well as reviews of restaurants, attractions and events.

Cell Phones

U.S. cell phones will work in Canada depending on your service provider and plan. Hefty roaming charges may apply if your phone is not configured to make or accept international calls. Contact your provider to find out about your coverage. Only hands-free devices are legal when driving in the province of Québec.


Foreign travelers must pay their own medical expenses in Canada. Your health insurance provider may reimburse you—check before departure to understand your coverage in foreign countries. Bring any medication you might need, and carry necessary labels or paperwork should customs agents request them. Contrary to popular belief, pharmacies in Québec can only fill prescriptions written by physicians licensed in Canada.

Québec Driving Tips

  • Visitors may drive with a valid driver’s license from their country of residence
  • Seat belts are mandatory
  • Driving is on the right
  • Prepare to read road signs in French
  • Turning on red is legal, except on the island of Montréal or when signs prohibit it
  • For road conditions, visit Transports Québec

Winter Driving

Driving in the snowy north requires extra caution. Using winter/snow tires, slowing down and leaving more distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you are just a few of the basics. If you are unfamiliar with black ice or harsh winter conditions, consider public transportation or taxis. Alternatively, Québec City’s Old Town is best explored on foot.

Upper & Lower

Québec City is built on two levels. Lower Town, the city’s original settlement, lies fairly flat along the St. Lawrence River, while the walled Upper Town sits above on a hilly plateau. You can climb the steep stairs connecting the two or take the funicular—a cable railway that hugs the hillside. It costs $2 CDN (approx $1.95 U.S.) and operates year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (until midnight in summer).

Take a Winter Walk

Walking through Québec City’s Old Town is probably the best way to see it, considering the narrow roads and congested traffic, not to mention steep parking rates. Insulated, waterproof boots (Women’s UGG® Quilted Meridian Boots) are mandatory to navigate the hills and cobblestone streets, coupled with snow and icy weather.

Entry Requirements

Although U.S. visitors may currently enter Canada without a passport (lawful permanent residents must have a green card), air travelers will need a passport or NEXUS card to re-enter the U.S. If you re-enter by land or sea, a valid passport, passport card, enhanced driver’s license or NEXUS card are accepted. Check the Canada Border Services Agency and Canada Border Patrol.

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